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                               News & Views Monday 23rd March to Sunday 29th March 2015

Immigration: Detention [House of Lords Extensive Debate]
Lord Lloyd of Berwick to ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the Report of the Inquiry into the Use of Immigration Detention in the United Kingdom, published on 3 March.

Lord Lloyd of Berwick (CB) (Valedictory Speech): My Lords, I will speak first to the subject matter of the debate since I was a member of the group which produced this report.

The basic legal principle is not in doubt: executive detention is lawful if, but only if, there is a realistic prospect of removing the detainee within a reasonable time. When we debated the Immigration Act this time last year, my noble friend Lady Williams of Crosby, who I am more than glad to see in her place, moved an amendment which would have limited the period to 60 days. The noble Lord, Lord Taylor of Holbeach, resisted the amendment on the ground that the principle is well established, with which, of course, I wholly agree.

However, the noble Lord went on to argue that the application of that principle should and could be left safely in the hands of the judges. I would normally welcome that argument with open arms but in this particular instance I am afraid to say that the judges have let us down. For example, in one case, an offender was detained pending his deportation to Somalia. He was eventually released but only after he had been detained for three years and five months. On no possible view could that be regarded as reasonable, yet his claim failed. I refer to some of these cases at page 18 of the report.

We are the only country in Europe which allows indefinite detention of this kind. In France, the maximum period is 45 days. In Spain, it is two months and in Italy it is three months, so we are way out of line with these countries. In the end, the group came to the view that we should have a maximum limit of 28 days. In coming to that view, we were much influenced by the corrosive effect which prolonged uncertainty has on the detainees themselves. There was much evidence to that effect, both from the detainees and the experts. I therefore hope that we will be hearing from others taking part in the debate about the reasons why we took that view.
Read more: House of Lords / 26 Mar 2015 : <>Column 1566


Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Volume 98
This document provides an update of Country Guidance case law and UKBA publications and developments in refugee producing countries between 11th March and 24th March 2015 - Volume 98  <> here . . .


Working Illegally

You are invited to a special preview of the new documentary film about the exploitation of migrant labour in UK detention centres.

Thursday 26 March 2015, 6:30-8:30pm

Garden Court Chambers

57-60 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3LJ

A Standoff Films production, based on research by Corporate Watch

Watch the trailer here . . . . Read the research here . . . .

The film screening will be followed by a discussion about the law around work in detention and a wine reception

From: "Phil Miller, Corporate Watch" <phil@corporatewatch.org>


Roma Nation Day - Friday 10th April 2015

You are invited to attend the open meeting of European Roma Network

The essential purpose of this year's Roma Nation Day event is to press for the adoption by the UK of an effective National Strategy that will help overcome the long borne marginalisation and discrimination suffered by an estimated 500,000 Romanies, Roma migrants and Travellers.

To this end the meeting will discuss the formation of a joint delegation drawn from the leading activist and sever organizations which, immediately after the upcoming General Election, will seek consultations at the Depart of Communities and Local Government and the Education Department.

The event will include the Annual
General Meeting of European Roma Network
Starting 1:00pm St John's Church
73 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8TY
[Nearest Underground: Waterloo. Bus 26 (and others)]

Held in association with the Gypsy Council, 8 April Initiative and Traveller Movement in celebration of "8 April" Roma Nation Day. This will be an opportunity for members and supporters to review the past year and future aims and activities.


Early Day Motion 900: Protests in Detention Centres
That this House notes with serious concern that protests, demonstrations and hunger strikes by detainees have taken place in detention centres around the country, including Harmondsworth Detention Centre; and calls on the Home Secretary to launch an independent public inquiry into the grievances of the detainees which have sparked these protests and to bring forward a report on the use of detention overall.

Sponsor: John McDonnell / <>House of Commons: 20.03.2015

Put your MP to work demand they sign EDM 900
You can contact your MP for free, through: WriteToThem.Com
http://www.writetothem.com/


'Tortured' UK Asylum Seeker Gets Deportation Reprieve

A Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seeker who claims to have suffered extensive torture before escaping to the UK has won a last minute reprieve just hours 18/03/15 before he was due forcibly deported to Sri Lanka. Kannan Kalimuththu, a 36 year old former policemen with the Tamil Tiger (LTTE) separatist rebels, has already attempted to commit suicide on two occasions and is said to be on permanent suicide watch in the UKÕs highest security Immigration Removal Centre at Colnbrook, near Heathrow. A psychiatrist's had warned that deportation was "very likely" to cause his mental health to "deteriorate dramatically" and leave him at "high risk of suicide". Lawyers for Mr Kalimuththu successfully applied for emergency injunction to stop his deportation. The ruling means he cannot be deported until his case his re-heard Ð a process which could take a few weeks.
Read more: Channel 4 News, 19/03/15


Fairness Not Fares in Our Asylum System

The new Home Office rule, coming into force on March 30th, will force asylum seekers to travel to Liverpool if they want to submit new evidence for their case. What's more, there won't be any help for those who can't afford the journey.

In a system that's so tough to navigate, the right to make a fresh claim - to present new evidence that will help your case, which you might not have originally had or known was relevant - is vital to ensuring people's safety. But for many people seeking protection, that right is about to be taken away.

Under the new rules, asylum seekers will only be able to submit new evidence for their case if they can travel to Liverpool and do so in person. There will be no travel expenses provided to help people do this. Most asylum seekers, who live on a tiny amount of support because they aren't allowed to work, won't be able to afford this journey.

To stop someone making their case for protection like this is just wrong. The Home Office is trying to save money at the expense of people's right to seek safety. Their arbitrary changes undermine our asylum system, and place undue pressure on the city of Liverpool - a community which already welcomes and protects its fair share of refugees.

What can you do?
1. Sign our petition - and when we share our concerns with the Home Office, we'll share your name too.
http://www.refugee-action.org.uk/actnow

Source: Refugee Action
http://www.refugee-action.org.uk/


Act Now to Stop the Deportation of Bruk T

Bruktait 'Bruk' T is 19 years old and has been detained in Yarl's Wood detention centre for 5 months despite being epileptic and suffering severe seizures whilst in detention.  Bruk is at the centre of a group of women organising in Yarl's Wood since the exposure of racism and sexism by Channel 4 News. She has been key to getting out the truth of the abuse faced by the women of Yarl's Wood, refusing to be silent and joining with other women in protests and resistance, demanding that Yarl's Wood is shut down once and for all.

Bruk faces the threat of being deported on 31st March to face violent racist persecution in her birth-country. She came to Britain in December 2013 to escape constant racist attacks and abuse in the central Asian republic of Kyrghizstan. She is the daughter of an Ethiopian father and ethnic Russian mother and was raised by her maternal grandmother, spending much of her early childhood in Guinea Conakry. After returning to Kyrghizstan she was the victim of racist attacks throughout her teens, including knifing, and still bears the scars.

What you can do..
Tell Turkish Airlines they must not collude in the Home Office's inhuman treatment of Bruk. She is due to be taken to Bishkek, Kyrghizstan via Istanbul on Turkish Airlines flights TK1998 / TK344 from Gatwick at 17.10 hrs. (5.10pm) on Tuesday 31st March.

Phone London office 020 7471 6666 & 0844 800 6666 or Fax 020 7348 3867

Email Gatwick Office: infolondon@thy.com

Quote Bruk's Home Office reference: T3009810.

Demand that the Home Office cancel Bruk's deportation and immediately release her from detention.

Send emails quoting Home Office ref. T3009810 to:

Home Secretary Theresa May: citto@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

JamesB rokenshire.mp Immigration Minister:
ministerforimmigration@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Copy in these Home Office email addresses:  

citto@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk / public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

From: Movement for Justice <mfj@ueaa.net>


Nigeria: at Least 1,000 Civilians Dead Since January
Attacks by the Islamist armed group Boko Haram killed more than 1,000 civilians in 2015, based on witness accounts and an analysis of media reports. Boko Haram fighters have deliberately attacked villages and committed mass killings and abductions as their attacks have spread from northeast Nigeria into Cameroon, Chad, and Niger since February.

The findings underscore the human toll of the conflict between Boko Haram and forces from from Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. NigeriaÕs National Emergency Management Agency says that nearly one million people have been forced to flee since the Islamist rebel group began its violent uprising in July 2009. During 2014, Human Rights Watch estimates that at least 3,750 civilians died during Boko Haram attacks in these areas. Attacks in the first quarter of 2015 have increased compared to the same period in 2014, including seven suicide bombings allegedly using women and children.
Read more: Human Rights Watch, 26/03/15


Interim Relief Against Removal to Afghanistan by Chartered Flight
Following the release of new evidence regarding the deterioration of conditions in Afghanistan, Duncan Lewis Solicitors challenged the removal of a number of vulnerable asylum seekers to Afghanistan by charter flight scheduled for 22:30 on Tuesday 10 March 2015.

Duncan Lewis were instructed by over twenty of those scheduled to be removed on this flight and lodged judicial review applications for them challenging their removal. Many of those due to be removed were from dangerous provinces or had mental or physical health issues.

Although a series of judges were not willing to grant the generic relief that was sought in order to cancel the charter flight and temporarily suspend removals, interim relief was granted for 19 individual clients. This relief was granted by several judges in different Courts with the last order granting a stay was received at 22:36PM.

Duncan Lewis now continue to challenge the policy of the Home Secretary to continue removals to Afghanistan where it has been acknowledged that there has been a marked deterioration in conditions and significant increase in violent activity in the country. We also seek to challenge the continued reliance on the country guidance case of AK despite its information now being four years old.

An initial hearing took place on Tuesday 24 March 2015 in front of Upper Tribunal President McCloskey to discuss case management steps in relation to the nineteen Afghan Clients who have been granted stays on removal. Directions have been provided for both parties with a view to a full hearing taking place in the next few weeks

Counsel instructed are Sonali Naik and Ali Bandegani of Garden Court Chambers. Duncan Lewis, 24 /03/15


Survey: How can we Support Your Organisation?

The Migrants' Law Project wants to hear from individuals and organisations in the refugee and migrant sector to find out more about your needs, particularly in terms of the issues you are experiencing and the areas where we can provide support and training. The results of this survey will be used to develop future guidance, resources and trainings which will be made available for free.

You can access the survey here . . . .

It should take around 5 minutes and we would be very grateful if you could kindly fill it in before 31st March. Many thanks, Kady, Migrants' Law Project

The Migrants' Law Project is a legal and public legal education project, hosted by Islington Law Centre. The MLP promotes fair treatment and access to justice for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the UK through the use of public law.

We provide free legal advice and support to organisations working with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers and aim to enable those organisations, through advice and training, to negotiate more effectively with government and other relevant public bodies. Where negotiation fails, the MLP will represent individuals and/or organisations in legal action, where appropriate, to challenge unjust government policies.
http://themigrantslawproject.org/


Complexity of Immigration Law Faces Judicial Criticism

When publishing a landmark report on overhauling the civil justice system in the United Kingdom Lord Woolf stated that 'in order to ensure access to justice' the system should, amongst other things, 'be understandable to those who use it'. There has been growing concern that the manner and speed in which Immigration law has been changed has put it beyond the comprehension of many of those who are governed by it; not just applicants who must comply with it but members of the judiciary who are adjudicating upon it.

In December 2012 Lord Lester of Herne Hill a renowned Barrister sitting in the House of Lords stated that "My wife is an immigration and asylum judge and... she and her colleagues... find themselves in a quite terrible situation in trying to understand the Kafkaesque material that flows out of the Home Office." He described the law governing immigration as "a network of regulations that it is quite impossible for ordinary men and women, including Members of this House, to understand". Lord Taylor acknowledged in response that "no area is more complex than the whole business of the Immigration Rules and the procedures surrounding them".

Since these calls for reform, the parliamentary criticism has been echoed by the judiciary; in Pokhriyal v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWCA Civ 1568 Jackson L.J. stated that the "provisions have now achieved a degree of complexity which even the Byzantine Emperors would have envied". In the recent case of Singh v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] EWCA Civ 74 Underhill L.J. explained that there was a problem with the complexity of the rules, and they were not readily "understandable by ordinary lawyers and other advisers". The drafting was described as "rebarbative".

Unfortunately, this criticism appears to have fallen on deaf ears. The most recent Statement of Changes released on 26 February 2015 stretches to 243 pages. The President of ILPA, Alison Harvey, stated that, Immigration Act 2014 (Commencement No. 4, Transitional and Saving Provisions and Amendment) Order 2015 (SI 2015/371 (C.18)), which was released on the same date "could not have been more confusingly drafted". Despite calls from all quarters to consolidate and simplify the legislation, the Secretary of State is making the regime of immigration control increasingly inaccessible to those using or reforming it.

Gherson Immigration, 23/03/15


Meaning of 'Totally Without Merit'

Normally, where an application for judicial review is made the first stage is for a judge to consider the grounds for judicial review and the acknowledgement of service and summary grounds of defence, then decide without holding a hearing whether permission should be granted. Lawyers commonly refer to this decision as being Òon the papersÓ because there is no oral hearing.

If permission is refused Òon the papersÓ, as often occurs even in cases that ultimately go on to succeed, it is normally possible to apply for an oral renewal, also called a reconsideration. This involves submitting short reasons why permission should be granted despite the refusal on the papers and the court or tribunal will then list the case for a short oral hearing.

Not always, though. The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) were amended so that when a judge refuses an application on the papers, the judge may also certify the case as being Òtotally without meritÓ, which has the effect of preventing the applicant from applying for an oral hearing. CPR 54.12.7 provides:
Read more: Freemovement Briefing here . . . .


UKHO CIG: Nigeria: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

1.1 Basis of Claim

1.1.1 Fear of persecution by the state and/or non-state actors because of the person's actual or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity, i.e. that the individual is (or is perceived to be) a lesbian, a gay man, bisexual, or transgender person (hereafter referred to as LGBT).

1.2 Summary of Issues
- What is the person's actual, or perceived, sexual orientation/gender identity?
- Do LGBT persons from Nigeria constitute a particular social group (PSG)?
- Are LGBT persons at risk of mistreatment or harm in Nigeria?
- Are those at risk able to seek effective protection?
- Are those at risk able to internally relocate within Nigeria to escape the risk?

Published on Refworld, 18 March 2015
http://www.refworld.org/docid/550c27744.html


Last updated 27 March, 2015